Your Guide To Doctors, Health Information, and Better Health!
Your Health Magazine Logo
The following article was published in Your Health Magazine. Our mission is to empower people to live healthier.
George Wang, Certified Sleep Therapist and Co-Founder
3 helpful sleep tips if you struggle with sleepless nights and chronic insomnia
Stellar Sleep
. https://stellarsleep.com/

3 helpful sleep tips if you struggle with sleepless nights and chronic insomnia

Struggling with chronic insomnia and sleepless nights can be a frustrating and exhausting experience, affecting both your physical and mental well-being. In fact, sleeplessness in America is on the rise, due to many external factors including increasingly negative news cycles, international conflicts and economic uncertainty. Collectively, these factors have caused more Americans to have recurrent sleepless nights. When those nights exceed 3+ a week for 3+ months, it’s considered chronic insomnia, which affects 10-15% of people (that number jumps to 75 percent among older adults). 

With the right strategies, mindset, and support, you can overcome chronic insomnia and enjoy restful nights. Here are some novel and non-obvious sleep tips to help with insomnia and effective strategies for sleep:

Reframe “scary sleep” thoughts
Cognitive restructuring in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – Insomnia (CBT-I) targets the negative thought spirals that exacerbate insomnia. For example, you might catch yourself thinking, “It’s already 2 am, I only have 5 hours left to sleep…if I don’t get enough sleep tonight, I’ll bomb my presentation and jeopardize my job.” In psychology, this is “catastrophic thinking,” where one poor night’s sleep leads to an exaggerated, imagined career crisis. To combat this, document these thoughts in a sleep diary, question their validity, and replace them with realistic ones like “I have managed with little sleep before and still performed well.” Remind yourself that one night of poor sleep is not determinative of your career success and that you have strategies to manage temporary tiredness.

“Reset” your mental association with your bed

If you’ve been battling insomnia for some time, your bed may have become a symbol of sleeplessness rather than rest. In sleep therapy, there’s a technique called “sleep restriction therapy” that “resets” your mental association with your bed. Start by limiting your time in bed to the average amount of actual sleep you’ve been getting each night. If you usually sleep for 5 hours, even if you spend 8 hours in bed trying to sleep, restrict your time in bed to those 5 hours. This strengthens the mental association that bed is for sleeping, not lying awake. As you start to sleep more during these allotted hours, gradually extend the time in bed in small increments. The key is to follow this schedule consistently to reinforce the connection between your bed and sleep. 

Start a sleep diary and journal your ‘worries”

Keeping a sleep diary can be enlightening. Record when you go to bed, when you wake up, the quality of your sleep, and any factors that might have affected your sleep (like late meals, exercise, stress). This can help identify patterns or behaviors that are detrimental to your sleep. Also, scheduling time to “worry” before bed and writing it all down in a worry journal allows you to set aside a specific time earlier in the evening to focus on your worries or concerns, rather than doing so while lying in bed. This separation can help prevent your bed from becoming a place associated with stress and anxiety.

Remember, the goal of a good bedtime routine is to create a calm and relaxing environment that helps to promote better sleep. It’s important to establish a routine that works for you and your specific needs. If you have specific concerns or difficulties with sleep, it’s always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional for further evaluation and guidance.

About the Author

George Wang is co-founder and CEO of Stellar Sleep, the first digital solution for chronic insomnia management and is one of only about 700 people in the world certified in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – Insomnia (CBT-I), a proven method for addressing chronic insomnia.

MD (301) 805-6805 | VA (703) 288-3130